The rift within the Samajwadi Party (SP) tore it asunder on Friday as party president Mulayam Singh Yadav suspended his son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for six years from the party for "indiscipline." Ram Gopal Yadav -- a loyalist of Akhilesh -- was also suspended for six years, and for the same reason.
Addressing a press conference, Mulayam said he had expelled them to "save the party." He added: "I have worked really hard to build this party. What was their role in this? I work hard and they reap the benefits? ...They were finishing the party."
With Akhilesh gone, the SP will need a new chief ministerial candidate. Mulayam told reporters that he would decide who that would be, but political observers are already saying it is a foregone conclusion that it will be Shivpal Yadav, Mulayam's loyal younger brother, who has had a lot of tussle with Akhilesh on a number of issues.
A show-cause notice was sent by Mulayam earlier in the day to Akhilesh and Ram Gopal. The notice to Akhilesh was sent after he issued his own list of candidates for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, despite Mulayam himself releasing such a list on behalf of the SP. Akhilesh-loyalist Ram Gopal had also received a notice over his statement that he would continue to support and work for the UP CM through the upcoming UP Assembly elections.
With this suspension, the infighting between father-son duo came to an end on Friday, and the SP as good as split. Akhilesh is now free to form his own party or contest the UP Assembly elections, or do it along with his loyalists as independent candidates.
Either way, chances are great that he will tie up with the Congress, which has been looking to play kingmaker in the state that has sent the most number of prime ministers to power, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Varanasi.